Public choice as political philosophy


Moral philosophy as it emerged from the Scottish Enlightenment spawned the social sciences in general and the field of political economy in particular. The latter field itself went on to splinter into two. James Buchanan, however, walked us back from our tendency to over-specialize and recovered the field of political economy as it was done in its classical heyday.

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My work on this essay was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. Thanks also to the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business for hosting me as a Visiting Scholar in the fall of 2016. The first four sections of this essay are borrowed from David Schmidtz (2017) and David Schmidtz (2016).

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Correspondence to David Schmidtz.

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Schmidtz, D. Public choice as political philosophy. Rev Austrian Econ 31, 169–176 (2018).

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  • Justice
  • Incentive compatibility
  • Corruption
  • Utilitarianism
  • Distribution
  • Self-interest

JEL classification

  • A12
  • B12
  • H
  • P1